Tuesday, March 25, 2008

There But for the Grace of God

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.”

~ Acts 20:24

In a recent edition of The Prairie Post, there was a letter to the editor written by a woman whose son had gotten into some trouble. She expressed the deep hurt her family felt upon learning that some people in her community seemed to take pleasure in spreading the news of their unfortunate dilemma.

In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 18, Jesus used a parable to talk about people who engaged in hypocrisy of the highest form – those who took pride in their own righteousness and looked down upon everyone else. Jesus said, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee [religious person] and the other a tax collector [so-called sinner]. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14 – NIV)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.”

~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Years ago, Keen and I learned some valuable lessons from an experience we went through as a family. Through that experience, we traded in our idea of having a “picture perfect family” with the more important goal of having a family that exemplifies a “picture-perfect picture” of God’s amazing grace. Now we humbly share our testimony of God’s faithfulness, grace, mercy and guidance. And the smiling faces looking back at you in our family picture are the faces of people who know they are not perfect, just forgiven.

“Forget your perfect offering and ring the bells that can still ring. There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.”

~Leonard Cohen

No Such Thing

By Eileen Umbehr

I always used to think we had,
The perfect family,
But now I've come to realize
That there's really no such thing.

We did our best to raise our boys,
With values, morals and such,
We always tried to let them know
We loved them oh so much.

Then when our oldest came of age,
We thought he was doing okay,
But now he has a young wife
With a baby on the way.

But even though they seemed to get,
The cart before the horse,
I can think of many things
That could be much worse.

For we still have our son to love,
And now a daughter and baby brand new,
So there's no sense dwelling on the past,
With so much to look forward to!

Plus, we have learned so very much,
From this whole ordeal,
And we've been touched by the compassion of,
Those who know how we feel.

We've learned about the power,
Of forgiveness, faith and love,
And how we can make it through anything,
With help from God above.

So even though we may not have,
The perfect family,
It really doesn't matter,
Because there's really no such thing.

March 19, 1999

“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law . . . For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

~ Galatians 2:16, 21 (NLT)